Norfloxacin nightmare

by James
(Sydney, Australia)

I was prescribed norfloxacin to tackle a bad case of food poisoning. The initial 2 pills bought about no side effects, but within 3 hours of taking the third pill I felt that something was not right. My arms and legs were tingling like crazy and so was my face.

I thought that it could be due to stress or anxiety so forced myself to go to bed. The next morning the tingling had eased but my hands and feet were still feeling like electrical current was passing through them. I never took another does of norfloxacin.

Within the next few days I began experiencing joint pains, pains in tendons all over my body-but particularly my wrist and ankles. 2 months have passed and I've also developed twitching on my forearms and thighs with pain in the back of my knees.

I've seen 2 doctors who attributed the symptoms to anxiety or overuse of muscles/RSI and prescribed rest and relaxation. I'm 34 year old male who is otherwise fine and without problems before these events. I'm now using magnesium oil and tablets but so far I have not felt much benefit. In fact the twitch in my legs seems to be worse after the oil.

It's been 2.5 months now and the pains and limb weakness are still there which in itself causes stress which makes it worse. Now considering seeing specialist physio for wrist and ankle problems which will undoubtedly cost me a small fortune in shock wave treatment fees.

These medications are dangerous and should only be used when there is no alternative option. When I complained to my Doctor that Norfloxacin had not made me feel well he immediately prescribed a different antibiotic from a different class. The use of a Fluoroquinolone (FQ) antibiotic was never required.

Clearly more needs to be done to limit their use to cases where they are necessary. I'm in Sydney, Australia and there is no local literature or forums on this topic.


Joshua Answers:

Hello James.

As you've experienced, Fluoroquinolones antibiotics like Levaquin and Cipro and Avelox and Norfloxacin can be bad news.

It's not regular Tendonitis, not even close.

See: What Is Tendonitis

Fluoroquinolones have a very mechanical effect on the body and then they're out of the system. But the system has been thrown out of whack, and in most cases stays out of whack, and can maintain or get worse, over time.

And for very good reason. An effective Levaquin Tendonitis Treatment is required. Levaquin is the worse, statistically, but Norfloxacin can cause the exact same side effects.

It's unfortunate that your doctors don't have a clue how to effectively treat you. And they gave you a Fluoroquinolone for food poisoning? Were you dying? Was there some huge bacterial infection putting you at risk for something other than feeling bad and dehydration?

Maybe it was worth the risk, maybe not, I don't know enough to really say.

What I can for sure say, though, is that Rest and relaxation have no hope of curing Norfloxacin toxicity.

Personally I wouldn't spend any money on extracorporeal shock wave therapy. If it's really just ultrasound, it's not going to do you any good.

If it's hardcore shockwave treatment that requires local anesthesia, I HIGHLY suggest that you do NOT do that. Your tissue and system is not healthy and will likely respond VERY poorly to the highly percussive nature. Bad idea. Or at least, it's a bad enough idea that I wouldn't risk it, were it me.

These two pages may be relevant for you:

How Much Magnesium Is Too Much?

Ciprofloxacin For A Prostate Infection


1. How much Magnesium are you taking?

2. What kind?

3. What else are you doing for self care?

Please reply using the comment link below. Do not submit a new submission to answer/reply, it's too hard for me to find where it's supposed to go.

And, comments have a 3,000 character limit so you may have to comment twice.

Joshua Tucker, B.A., C.M.T.
The Tendonitis Expert

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Comments for Norfloxacin nightmare

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Apr 24, 2013
Food Poisoning?
by: Wayne

Are you forgetting the fact that you went to the doctor in the first place because there was something wrong? Was it food poisoning? Did you find out what kind of food poisoning it was? A bacterial intestinal infection, toxicity exposure, allergic reaction? Did you give any consideration to the realistic possibility that the 'food poisoning' resulted in the subsequent problems. This sounds like a false correlation; you took some pills and then you got sick. Please remember that you were sick before you took the pills.


Joshua Comments:

Those are good questions Wayne. And the sickness that a person takes antibiotics for, and the reasons they got sick in the first place, are definitely relevant factors to the conversation.

And, fluoroquinolones have a long standing history and are well known for MESSING a person up. So 'you took some pills and you got sick' is a very realistic and possible scenario when talking about fluoroquinolones like Cipro, Levaquin, Avelox, Norfloxacin, etc.

Feb 03, 2015
me too
by: diane

same dosage and same effects. i was given it for cystitis 3 days ago. after 3 doses i woke up with severe leg pains. the literature states side-effects of this drug is tendonitis for the over 60's. i have had no sleep with the pain and walking hurts.

Feb 17, 2015
by: Dom

I had taken also 3 doses and had all day yesterday shooting pain in finger joins that just comes and goes at random, very very painful.

Was standing in the bus holding a rain and as I moved something cracked with a lot of pain in the wrist today I have bruise on that spot. Really need to look what is causing it. Im in a lot of pain in my arms, this made my rhabdo recovery much worse.

People who promote some e-books, come on. I never understand when someone is trying to make money off people who suffer. There has been a lot of shams with anxiety e-books that promise to cure people. I never trust before I see any result. If I see that I happily pay for it.


Joshua Comments:

Hi Dom.

Do doctors try to make money from people that suffer?

Is the doctor that gave you the flouroquinolone antibiotic going to treat you for free?

Did you demand proof or a guarantee from your doctor that the treatment would work before taking the prescription?

Feb 17, 2015
more info on my norfloxacin nightmare
by: Diane

I complained to the doctor who prescribed it - a warning had been issued by the FDA in 2008 if I remember correctly. He said my pains were not due to the antibiotics but caused by the weather!

Following this episode I took another antibiotic, one much milder Clarithromycin. However it flared up the tendonitis in the legs and feet. I wonder if I am stuck with these pains?


Joshua Comments:

YOur doctor blamed your symptoms on the weather?

Wow, that's some serious witch doctory going on there.

I'd love for you to ask him for the evidence upon which he based that diagnosis!

May 12, 2015
What causes the neck clicking and back cracking after taking Avelox??
by: Enkel

I have been floxed from using simultaneously two fluoroquinolones Avelox + Noroxin for 10 days given by a lazy doctor for UTI.

He told me that Noroxin is not antibiotic but just disinfectant. I have been two months out.

My symptoms are joint cracking without pain except back pain when i sit too long , brain fog, fatigue. I feel like i have "loose screw" in my body.

My doctor said that it is a good for your bones to crack because you are young. They are ignorant because this is a different type of cracking. This is a non-healthy cracking like snapping. But who understand?

What causes the neck clicking and back cracking? Tendons or cartilages? Sometimes the neck make a noise like sand.

I hope the cracking or clicking of neck are not bulged discs caused from fluroquinolone. This is my concern.

Does this class of antibiotics causes herniated disks?

Thank you


Joshua Comments:

Hi Enkel.

1. Run, run far and fast, away from that incompetent doctor.

Noroxin (norfloxacin) is a disinfectant? What?!? It's definitely an antibiotic, because that's what Norfloxacin is: an antibiotic.

2. Fatigue, brain fog, snapping/popping from muscles that are too tight, those are symptoms of magnesium insufficiency/deficiency.

One of the primary mechanisms of fluoroquinolones is that they deplete the body of magnesium.

3. Fluoroquinolones don't directly cause disc damage, but all in all, they definitely can help quickly cause disc damage and all the dysfunction surrounding that dynamic.

Which basically looks like muscles can't relax and get stuck tight, and that compresses joints, so when you move they have to 'jump' to get range of motion, and that is the clicking/cracking/etc.

May 14, 2015
Norfloxacin- warning approved by FDA
by: Diane Reid

Listening to experiences and symptoms of others I thought this link might be helpful. Approved by the F.D.A

It mentions the word 'tendon' so many times and talks about them snapping, so to speak. Not only were my legs affected - my neck and shoulders, lower back, and knees ( appeared enormous), my fingers ( unable to open my hands in the morning) were affected.

I will never forget that agonizing pain in the early hours when trying to sleep, it crept across my back slowly like burning needles.

Like pain of torture.

Jan 12, 2016
by: Janice

December 2015, shortness of breath and lethargic 3 months post right knee replacement surgery.

Ruled out pulmonary emoboli with lung scan and found pneumonia.

Prescription given for Levofloxicin (Levequin) 500 mg. once daily for 10 days which I completed full prescription.

Day two getting up from bed, shooting pain started in left foot. As days progressed on medication, severe pain in both legs around calves and knees; shooting pain left hand to index finger; left upper arm. Pain progressed to areas of neck. Now also have pain in right upper arm.

As of yesterday when sitting pain shooting from knee area to thigh of left leg. 3 weeks since last dose of Levequin and pain remains and increasing. So difficult to stand from sitting position each and every time, difficult walking for any distance. Difficulty carrying light grocery bags or purse. Difficulty getting to sleep to find comfortable position and difficulty staying asleep.

On day 2 of Levequin, I lost hearing in left ear. Been put on Pulmocort nebulizer for that symptom without effect, so I have stopped this med.

Does Levequin induced tendinopathy symptoms improve as time progresses?


Joshua Comments:

Hi Janice.

Symptoms can improve with time but A. often don't especially the worse the symptoms are and B. I certainly wouldn't plan on it/hope for it, I'd get to work actively trying to reverse the mechanisms causing the symptoms.

In my experience, of people doing 'nothing' for self care, symptoms either go away within a year, or they don't (meaning they last a long time/forever).

Having said that, long lasting symptoms aren't necessarily a function of 'permanent damage', they're more a function of, the way Fluoroquinolones like Levaquin affect the body, the body for the most part can't recover with out help. It's not like stepping on a nail, it's more like massive nutritional depletion (unless you put that nutrition back in, the body doesn't have much of a chance).

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